Zirin: LeBron Can ‘Puncture the Privilege’ Whites Have in Speaking About Tamir Rice

‘He has asked for this weight; he has said, “I want to be the Ali of my generation”‘

HARRIS-PERRY: "The regional coordinator for black lives matter. Jamel Smith, senior editor, the new republic and host of the intersection podcast. Joining me from Washington because it’s sports, Dave Zirin, sports editor, and host of the edge of sports podcast. That’s my question, Dave, why, why Lebron?"
ZIRIN: "Why turn to Lebron? First of all, so much of Cleveland is like a Lebron-based economy. He is a person who transcends politics, let alone transcends sports. First and foremost, this is not new historically. You look at the black press in the 1960s. You see demand after demand made on people like Willie Mays, like Henry Aaron, to stand up, to say this is bigger than sports. You have public stature. And everybody with public stature needs to stand up and be counted right now. So this is part of a tradition, of kind of the outside pressure on athletes to stand up. The second point, you mentioned this, but I don’t think this can be said enough. Particularly people criticizing. Is that Lebron’s not just another athlete. He has asked for this weight. He has said, I want to be the Ali of my generation. His latest commercial has public enemy playing in the background. Well, where do you stand on Tamir Rice? I agree it’s completely perverse that we’re, like, asking Lebron something and not asking Loretta lynch. But that’s part of the culture. We know Lebron can get this issue in front of white eyes and puncture the privilege that so many white families have to not seeing Tamir Rice."

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